HONESDALE, Pa. (AP) — A candidate in next month's Republican primary for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor was ordered this week to stay away from his home after his wife made claims of physical and mental abuse in obtaining a protective order.
Teddy Daniels was accused of making threats, saying he would kill the family dog and grabbing his wife by the shirt.
The woman also told a Pennsylvania judge that Daniels stalked her at work, “screaming at me, making me cry” and that he continually cursed at her and threatened to throw her out of the home.
Daniels, 47, is one of nine candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the state's May 17 primary, running with the endorsement of a leading candidate for governor, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County.
Both are vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump. Daniels has said he, like Mastriano, was outside the U.S. Capitol during the insurrectionist riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Responding to his wife's accusations, Daniels vowed to stay in the race and claimed without evidence that he was the target of “political terrorism” meant to damage his campaign.
A Wayne County judge granted a temporary protection from abuse order to Daniels' wife on Tuesday. Under the order, Daniels was removed from his home in a gated community in the Poconos and forbidden from having any contact with her. The judge also gave Daniels' wife temporary custody of their child and ordered Daniels to turn over his guns.
In a three-page, handwritten petition, the wife wrote that Daniels, who is 6-foot-4 and 360 pounds (1.9 meters and 163 kilograms), is “always angry at me” and “continuously” curses at her, threatening to kick her and their son out of the house if he loses the campaign.
He has hurled verbal abuse toward their son, she said in the petition. He also prevents her from seeing her family and told her she couldn’t attend a family funeral, she wrote.
Daniels' wife told authorities in her request for the protective order that he had “numerous” guns and knives in the house. “I am afraid of him and what he will do to me,” she wrote.
She sought the protective order after she said Pennsylvania State Police troopers came to their Lake Ariel house for a wellness check on Sunday. After they left, she said, Daniels was “verbally abusive” and “became very agitated about who called the state troopers.”
She said she then called state police, who suggested that her husband go elsewhere for the night to “cool things down.”
At 6 a.m. Monday, she wrote, her husband returned to the house, asked if she planned to seek a protective order and tried to prevent her from leaving, she wrote. Daniels then followed her to the courthouse, she wrote.
Last August, she said, Daniels grabbed her shirt, pulled her to his face and said, “Don’t you ever speak to me like that,” the petition said. He also threatened to kill the family dog and has made two previous attempts to take his own life, his wife said.
A hearing on the protective order was scheduled for next week.
Daniels has a combative campaign style that has drawn complaints of name-calling from two other candidates, and he recently told one opponent during a back-and-forth of Facebook videos that he planned to confront him in person.
The Pennsylvania lieutenant governor chairs the state Pardons Board and is next in line in case the state's chief executive becomes disabled or dies.
Daniels issued a statement late Wednesday that said state police were investigating the situation with his wife. Without offering evidence, he accused Rolling Stone magazine, which first published news of the protection-from-abuse order, of being “closely involved with a series of phone calls made to police from out-of-state in which false police reports were made against me at my home.”
Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman responded Thursday to Daniels' claims with a short emailed statement: “We stand by our story.”
Daniels also posted a half-hour live video on Facebook on Wednesday in which he said he had been “swatted,” or targeted with bogus calls leading police to his home.
“I have been hit with numerous cannon balls at point blank range,” Daniels said on the broadcast. “Folks, I ain't dropping out of nothing, and I ain't quitting.”
He said his wife had asked him several times to quit the race “because of the weight of the world coming down on us. And I told her, I said, 'I love you, but I ain’t dropping. I ain't dropping. This is what they want, and I'm not going to let them win.'”
Earlier this month, Daniels warned fellow Republican lieutenant governor candidate Russ Diamond that he would confront him over Diamond's Facebook post, made April 14, that raised questions about Daniels' law enforcement background, disability status and family life.
“I’m curious to see what you’re going to do with a man standing in front of you, now that you want to bring my wife into things,” Daniels told Diamond. “You are the lowest, scummiest, dirtiest form of a thing on the face of the earth. And boy you poked the wrong bear.”
Two other GOP lieutenant governor candidates have made a public appeal for Daniels to stop what they consider negative attacks and name calling.
A former police officer and Army combat veteran, Daniels recently promoted a campaign-related giveaway of a customized rifle. A helmet-camera video Daniels recorded of himself being shot on patrol in Afghanistan has been viewed online millions of times.
Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Michael Rubinkam And Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press